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The Paradigm Shift | Dr Dig’s

Welcome to Dr. Dig’s Yana blog

Hi there and thanks for even considering taking the time to read this post.  My plan is to make these interesting, up to date and have a little something in them that you will want to share with your friends!  I know – you are busy and so I want this to valuable to you. As an opening topic I thought I might reflect on a concept we have been talking a lot about here at Yana Motion Lab: the concept of a paradigm shift.

So what is a paradigm shift? When was this concept first thought of? How has that got anything to do with Yana or movement assessment? Well grab a coffee, tea, beer or whatever you like and let’s dig (get the pun!) into this.

 What Exactly Is A Paradigm Shift? 

Reaching back to my high school training the first thing I did when investigating anything was open the dictionary and get a definition. Mine used to be the Merriam Webster and fortunately it has transferred in our new digital age so:

Definition of paradigm shift an important change that happens when the usual way of thinking about or doing something is replaced by a new and different way. Example:This discovery will bring about a paradigm shift in our understanding of evolution. 

There are no comments in the comment section on the website so either I am one of a very few that have ever looked this up or it seems reasonable and no one cared to comment so I am good with this as our working definition. 

I am keen on real world examples of concepts so in this case some great examples of paradigm shifts are finding out the world was round rather than flat (my apologies to those that still think otherwise). 

For the flat earthers reading this, another example is the shift in1543 from Ptolemaic cosmology (everything revolving around the earth) to Copernican cosmology (revolving around the sun).  For the Ptolemaic flat earthers out there another example would be Newtonian gravity to Einsteinian general relativity (no idea what that is but must have been big as it made a wiki list of important paradigm shifts!) or to really bring it home the shift from stove to microwave to warm up your coffee or make hot chocolate. Incredible for the under 50s to realize but once upon a time we had to do that on the stove! – now that is a PARADIGM SHIFT.

 How Does A Paradigm Shift Relate To Yana Motion? 

So why is a founder of a new motion assessment company bothering to talk about this in his first blog. EASY – we are at the very earliest stage of a paradigm shift in the assessment and measurement of human movement and  that is exciting! Here at Yana Motion Lab, we know this change will result in a new and different way of doing something …a PARADIGM SHIFT in the measuring of how you move.  

To be sure we really are on the cusp of a new paradigm shift I thought it would be interesting to review the 4 stages of paradigm shifts as outlined by Thomas Kuhn and compare them to the Yana assessment. Kuhn first proposed this concept in his 1962 book titled The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. His 4 stages are: 

Stage 1 – Normal science – In this stage a dominant paradigm is active. In our case the present measurement of human movement is predominantly done with the human eye. There are other tools out there like goniometers (handheld and electric and some marker based systems found in research labs but for the vast majority of physician, physiotherapist, kinesiologist, chiropractor etc. assessments they ask you to move something, watch you do it and (hopefully) write it done.  

Here is what the textbook (“Examination Of Musculoskeletal Injuries – 4th Edition With Web Resource by Sandra Shultz, Peggy Houglam & Perrin”) say about visual estimation:

Avoid using a visual estimate to determine range of motion. The visual estimate may be off and can easily vary among clinicians, and it is not an objective measure. Especially avoid estimating if you use the measurement to identify a deficiency, record progress, or determine a patient’s readiness to return to normal activity levels.

Honesty time here – I have been an Emergency department doc for 25 years and have NEVER used anything but my eyes to estimate ranges of motion. I am not lazy. I am not special or different. It is simply that using a goniometer is very time consuming and even that tool has a pile of error associated with session to session variability or variability between different people using it.  

Conclusion – the normal science of human movement assessment for the vast majority of people is that big decisions are being made – back to sport, back to work, back to anything, and for the most part, being made with little objective information and against the recommendations of the textbooks. This is like me changing your blood pressure medications by putting my fingers on your wrist. Fine practice in 1732 before the Reverend Stephen Hales first measured a person’s blood pressure but not great practice in 2019 when I have a tool that does it accurately!  (Why a reverend was measuring blood pressure is another interesting story, but I am already running out of room so another day).

Stage 2 – Extraordinary research – characterized by its exploratory nature. This is the time of searching for new ideas, theories or in this case tools to support the new way of thinking or doing something. In our case this exploration has occurred in the computer science world with the advent of cloud computing, rapid massive data transfer and ability to process huge volumes of numbers quickly. This has led to markerless motion capture and the proprietary unique Yana assessment. 2019 is the 1733 for human movement. We now have a tool and ability to report that tools data output in a way that is completely objective, consistent, fast and accurate!

Stage 3 – Adoption of a new paradigm – This is the hard part as Darwin, Copernicus, and Newton all found out!  As a new paradigm is formed it gains its own followers but also has many that find the shift difficult or uncomfortable. This stage entails both resistance to the new paradigm, and reasons for why individuals adopt it. According to Max Planck, “a new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”  

When I first started in emergency medicine most surgeons would be comfortable taking a suspected appendicitis case to the operating room based on their physical exam (Old paradigm) now I can hardly get a surgeon to even examine the patient BEFORE the CT scan is done (New paradigm). This took about 20 years and as Kuhn states this is because scientists or experts are committed to the dominant paradigm (what they are used to), and paradigm shifts involve big changes. 

Kuhn stresses that paradigms are difficult to change but they do eventually change. I hope we don’t have to wait for everyone to die before experts in musculoskeletal health and assessment realise that the new paradigm is here, and we can know really understand the complexity of human movement and its measurement.

Stage 4 – Aftermath of the scientific revolution – In the long run, the new paradigm becomes institutionalized as the dominant one. Textbooks are written, obscuring the revolutionary process.

So, if you here and reading this you are either curious, an innovator or an early adopter, and for that I want to thank-you. It is those attributes that help speed the change to a new paradigm and I believe we have to do this, as thousands of decisions are made every day about how a person moves. And in many of those cases the information is just not accurate enough or for some it is just plain wrong! Yana Motion Lab is changing that.  

If we are making decisions about people’s futures: Can you work? What job? Can you go back to sports or other activities? then we should be using the best evidence available to make those decisions rather than relying on the old ways because it is what we are used to doing or easier.  Before now there really wasn’t a better alternative for most clinicians and that is not the case any longer. Yana Motion Lab is here to bring in the new Paradigm and provide you with accurate and reproducible information about something you do every day and rely on for almost everything you do: Move!

I hope you have enjoyed this blog and the topic. THE aim of this blog will be to look at issues relating to movement and movement health and shine some light into areas that have been pretty dark over the last few decades. Topics will look at the benefits of maintaining your movement health, understanding it, and why it is so important to have objective information to make your decisions about your movement health.  

If you have made it this far, I was successful in holding you interest and intrigue.  

Thanks for reading and look forward to your comments.  If you have any ideas for future topics of interest please let me know.

Yours in motion,

Dr. Dig

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